The Friars (19-14) season came to an end at the hands of the Baylor Bears (21-14) on Wednesday night in Waco, Texas in the NIT quarterfinals by a score of 79-68. PC did a good job to weather the storm for most of the game, but ultimately couldn’t overcome Baylor’s length and athleticism.
The Friars came out flying, racing to a 10-4 lead early. However, Baylor roared back to take the lead for much of the half, before Bryce Cotton nailed a three at the end of the half to send both teams into the locker rooms tied 38-38. The final score doesn’t really portray how the second half played out, as PC kept the game tight up until the final minutes, with Baylor sinking their free throws down the stretch.
The Friars had three players who scored 20 or more points in the loss: Cotton (23 pts), Vincent Council (21 pts), and Kadeem Batts (20 pts). However, the problem existed in the lack of balanced scoring, as the Friars only got four points from freshman Kris Dunn in addition to Cotton, Council, and Batts, meaning only four players scored for the Friars which isn’t a good recipe for success.
For the Bears, Pierre Jackson orchestrated their offense well, scoring 20 points and dishing out 13 assists. Baylor also got a game-high 26 points from Cory Jefferson, who shot 10-for-14 from the field. The Friars did a good job at limiting the production of standout freshman center Isaiah Austin, who only scored five points and collected two rebounds.
It’s always tough to see the season come to an end, but this has to be one of the most successful years that PC basketball has seen in quite some time. Ed Cooley certainly showed that this program is heading in the right direction. It should be exciting to see the Friars on the court next season, as I, and many other Friar fans will be expecting big things.
Providence, RI: The Friars (4-seed, 19-14) defeated the eighth-seeded Robert Morris Colonials by a score of 77-68 at the Dunk on Monday night to advance to the Region 1 final. After playing to a stalemate 34-34 in the first half, the Friars came out determined with a really strong second half, with Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton leading the charge. The Friars were able to battle through a stingy Colonial team that made 11 three-pointers in the game and didn’t role over easily. Henton scored a game-high 21 points in the win, while Cotton added his usual 20 points. Vincent Council had the game’s only double-double with 12 points and 10 assists, picking apart the Robert Morris defense. The Friars also got a nice contribution from their bench, particularly Lee Goldsbrough, who pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Karvel Anderson led the Colonials with 18 points, while Russell Johnson added 16 points.
Next Up: The Friars will now play at the second-seeded Baylor Bears (18-14, 9-9 in Big 12) on Wednesday at 9pm on ESPN2, with the winner moving on to the semifinals of the NIT. The Bears are led by point guard Pierre Jackson, who averages 19.2 point per game and freshman center Isaiah Austin, who averaged 13.2 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game. Baylor could give the Friars fits with their length and scoring ability, but with the way the Friars have been playing, I wouldn’t count them out of any game.
(photo via wtae.com)
Robert Morris Preview: The Friars (4-seed, 18-14) will host the Robert Morris Colonials (8-seed, 24-10) tomorrow night at the Dunk at 7pm on ESPNEWS in the second round of the NIT. PC was led by Bryce Cotton and an all around tremendous effort from Kris Dunn in a 75-66 victory over Charlotte in the first round. After defeating the Kentucky Wildcats in probably the biggest athletic event in Robert Morris history, the Colonials will now play the Friars, who have really found their identity in the second half of the season. Much like Charlotte, the Colonials have had a well-balanced scoring attack this season, with four players averaging in double-figures: Karvel Anderson (12.3), Lucky Jones (11.9), Velton Jones (10.8), and Russell Johnson (10.8).
I’m sure the Friars will give Robert Morris a more competitive game than Kentucky did, as they looked like they didn’t even want to be there. Also, being away from the small comfortable confines of Moon Township, Pennsylvania should rattle a team that plays an extremely weak schedule from year-to-year. If the Friars establish the presence of Kadeem Batts down low early, then PC should have no problem putting the Colonials away with Friartown behind them.
Baylor awaits winner: The Baylor Bears await the winner of PC’s second round game tomorrow night, as they beat Arizona State 89-85 on Friday night. PC/Robert Morris will have to travel to Baylor for the region final, with the winner of that game earning a spot in the NIT semifinals.
Providence, R.I:The Friars (4, 18-14) beat the Charlotte 49ers (5, 21-12) 75-66 at the Dunk on Wednesday night, posting their first postseason victory since the 2003 NIT Tournament. After facing a three point deficit at halftime, PC came out playing a determined style of basketball, putting up 42 points in the second half. The Friars were led by Bryce Cotton, who played as a leading scorer should, netting a game-high 25 points. In my mind, however, Cotton wasn’t the best player on the floor for the Friars. Kris Dunn led the Friars from start to finish, filling up the scoresheet all night. Dunn compiled 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and four steals in 34 minutes played. This was undoubtedly Dunn’s most complete game in a Friars uniform this year, giving us a glimpse of what we should see next year with his freshmen year under his belt. Vincent Council also wasn’t ready to see his college career come to an end, scoring 16 points, while pulling down five rebounds and dishing six assists.
Second Round Matchup: The Friars will now host eighth-seeded Robert Morris at the Dunk in the second round of the NIT. Robert Morris upset first-seeded Kentucky on Tuesday night, edging the Wildcats by two points. The day and time of the Friars second round game at the Dunk is to be determined.
Charlotte Preview: The Providence Friars (4, 17-14) will host the Charlotte 49ers (5, 21-11) tomorrow night at the Dunk at 7:15pm on ESPN3. The Friars were led this year by All-Big East First Team selection Bryce Cotton, who averaged a league-high 19.4 points per game. The Co-Most Improved Player in the Big East Kadeem Batts (15.1) and LaDontae Henton (13.2) were also key contributors offensively this season. Unlike the Friars, the 49ers had a more balanced scoring attack this season. Their top five scorers: Chris Braswell (11.9), DeMario Mayfield (11.7), Pierria Henry (10.4), Willie Clayton (8.4), and Terrence Williams (7.5) all have point averages that are within five points of each other. The Friars, who I believe to be a better team, will have to bear down and put the 49ers away early, using home-court to their advantage.
Potential Matchup: If the Friars were to take care of their first game on home court, they would have the opportunity to take on the overrated and overhyped Kentucky Wildcats in the second round, who have a first-round game against Robert Morris tonight on ESPN. This would be an early treat for Friar fans, as PC is set to take on Kentucky on December 1, 2013 next season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Trap Game: With the potential to play a big name school like Kentucky in the second round, I see tomorrow night as a trap game. Especially with a single-elimination tournament, the Friars can’t look past Charlotte tomorrow night. Although I believe they should win, they can’t take the game lightly with the anticipation of a big second-round matchup.
The Friars (17-14) will host Charlotte (21-11) at the Dunk on Wednesday night at 7:15pm on ESPN3 in the first round of the NIT after being tabbed a four seed. PC exited the Big East Tournament in the second round with a loss to Cincinnati, but had an extremely strong second half of the season to earn a spot in the NIT. If the Friars were to beat Charlotte, they would match up against one-seeded Kentucky in the second round. The site of that game was up in the air with Kentucky’s Rupp Arena being used for the NCAA Tournament, but the latest reports are that the game would be held at Rupp Arena. Here are the first round matchups for the NIT:
Kentucky Bracket | Upper Left
No. 1 Kentucky at No. 8 Robert Morris*
No. 4 Providence vs. No. 5 Charlotte
No. 3 Arizona State vs. No. 6 Detroit
No. 2 Baylor vs. No. 7 Long Beach State
*played at Robert Morris due to Rupp Arena being used for the NCAA Tournament.
Southern Miss Bracket | Lower Left
No. 1 Southern Miss vs. No. 8 Charleston Southern
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 5 Louisiana Tech
No. 3 BYU vs. No. 6 Washington
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 7 Mercer
Alabama Bracket | Upper Right
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Northeastern
No. 4 Stanford vs. No. 5 Stephen F. Austin
No. 3 Denver vs. No. 6 Ohio
No. 2 Maryland vs. No. 7 Niagara
Virginia Bracket | Lower Right
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 8 Norfolk State
No. 4 St. Joesph’s vs. No. 5 St. John’s
No. 3 Iowa vs. No. 6 Indiana State
No. 2 UMass vs. No. 7 Stony Brook
(via Kevin Farrahar on YouTube)